The present delimitation of Tulu speaking areas along the Karavali especially to the south of Udupi appears to be a feature imposed on the region after the Vijayanagar administration (ca 14 century CE and thereafter) centered on Barakur that fostered administrative support for the growth of Kannada in the region around and north of Barakur. Before Vijayanagar era in the Karavali, Kadamba rule centered on Banavasi ca. 4th century CE laid the foundation for growth of (old) Kannada in the northern Karavali.
A few words still prevail in the northern Karavali in support of the above claim. And Airodi is one such place name.
Airodi (pronounced AayiroDi) is a village close to the northern banks of River Seetha near Hangarkatta in Udupi taluk. Hangarkatta was a traditional boat building centre in the Karavali.
Ayere in Tulu stands for river bank. Possibly the word originated as aa+ere meaning the other edge of river.(Compare 'ayere' with Attavara, Aamai etc words that refer to the place on the other side of the river.)
Therefore the place name Airodi literally represents an Odi (village) on the Ayere (the river bank).
A similar sounding village Airoli exists in coastal Maharastra. The Oli (pronounced OLi) is a Prakrit/ Marati word generally representing a village or habitation and the word is also found in Tulu.(Note the Tulu village names like Kudroli, Maroli, Budoli etc). The existence of names like Airoli in Maharastra suggests that the word 'ayere' was more widespread in the earlier days along the west coast.
It is possible that the Tulu word -Odi is an variant of the word -OLi or vice versa.
Written with: Hosabettu Viswanath
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